Social Work is the professional activity of helping individuals, groups, or communities enhance or restore their capacity for social functioning and creating societal conditions favorable to this goal. Social Work practice consists of the professional application of Social Work values, principles, and techniques to one or more of the following ends: helping people obtain tangible services; counseling and psychotherapy with individuals, families, and groups; helping communities or groups provide or improve processes.
The practice of Social Work requires knowledge of human development and behavior; of social, economic, and cultural institutions; and of the interactions of all these factors. Mahatma Gandhi Wrote, “I understood from another visitor this afternoon that you are without any organization here for doing this class of social work or political work of any nature whatsoever, and indeed nothing would please me better than to find that as one of the results of this meeting, you had such a working organization manned by selfless workers.”5
Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “Mr. Diwan A. Mehta brought a collection (Rs. 270) made from among the Indian passengers on board s.s. Pilsna to be handed to me on the condition that if the Bardoli struggle was over the money should be utilized for some social work of my choice. I have earmarked the donation for untouchability work, and I thankfully make this acknowledgment here as it could not very well appear in the Bardoli fund collection list that is printed from week to week as a supplement to Young India.”6
Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “He, who lives in the social group, must have no aversion to social work, that is, collective prayer. He who loses himself in God sees the whole world as God. It may be said that collective prayer is the first step in social work for attaining such a state of mind. From the Negroes to the Christians of Europe, from the Muslims of Arabia to the Hindus of Bharatavarsha, none of them has been able to do without prayer.
If the churches, the mosques, and the temples were to be demolished, the society, too, would go down with them. Divine music is going on all the time where God is and we can only imagine what it is like. Collective prayer is a rationally inexplicable attempt to join in that music, and he who joins in that music is forever in a state of bliss. I take it that you will be able to deduce the rest from this. If you cannot do so and doubts remain, go on asking me again and again.”7
Social Work is concerned and involved with the interactions between people and the institutions of society that affect the ability of people to accomplish life tasks, realize aspirations and values, and alleviate distress. These interactions between people and social institutions occur within the context of the larger societal good.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “We in Gujarat have a unique Vidyapith. I am not exaggerating if I say that it is a centre of Gujarat’s public life and social work.”8 Mahatma Gandhi Wrote, “Not much work could be done for long years.
Meanwhile, the Calcutta Congress passed a resolution appointing the Anti- untouchability Committee and the work was entrusted to Jamnalalji who was able to achieve some results and the credit for it went to the Congress.
It is not the main work of Congress to take full responsibility for social work. It should at the same time promote it. The Congress is a political body in which there are bound to be frequent differences of opinion. I would urge to have a far-sighted vision and to create these Committees and to let them do good work by organizations which are of their own making and with money which they collect.”9
Mahatma Gandhi Wrote, “I had explained this even at the time I asked for donations from you. You had remarked that my work was of a political and social nature. After this was made clear, you gave me this money for social work. Likewise, you accepted my views generously. It is not proper that you should now demand a hand in the management. I ask you to have a committee of inspection. If you feel that the work is not being carried on properly, you may stop your donations.
Even the Government does not participate in the management though it does supervise. You too can do what you like as inspectors. Even then if you do not like to donate funds, I shall make another suggestion. The people are filled with admiration for the school that is being run there, the Montessori school. Donate money to him to Prof. Miller. The labourers need that money. You talk of the increase in the wages of labourers. I must tell you that even sons of big men study there and do not pay full fees. You seem to desire that this school should be run on the small sum that the labourers save. Do the labourers collect money for the purpose of fighting? You should be thankful to me because they do not collect funds to launch a fight.”10
Read Part III of the Series
- 5-VOL. 40: 2 SEPTEMBER, 1927 – 1 DECEMBER, 1927, Page- 398
- 6-Young India, 30-8-1928
- 7-VOL.45: 4 FEBRUARY, 1929 – 11 MAY, 1929, Page- 175
- 8-VOL.45: 4 FEBRUARY, 1929 – 11 MAY, 1929, Page- 224
- 9-VOL. 48: 21 NOVEMBER, 1929 – 2 APRIL, 1930, Page- 155
- 10-TALK TO MILL-OWNERS’ ASSOCIATION MEMBERS; March 8, 1930